Emerging Technology In The Airline Industry

Philip Te Hau

Trends in technology impact all industries, and travel and aviation is no exception. To stay competitive, airlines must use the newest technology to offer customers a better travel experience.


Connectivity is a growing trend in airline technology, according to CNN—largely because passengers, employees, business networks, suppliers, and procurement professionals all use digital devices and tools to stay connected. Connectivity also fosters growth in the airline industry by improving the travel experience, which in turn boosts customer loyalty.

Hyper-connectivity, which refers to increased use of many devices, is changing the rules and etiquette of airlines’ service strategy by offering travelers multitasking features and more.

Passenger empowerment

Increased computing options improve the customer experience by allowing passengers to stay up to date on business developments, communicate with friends and family, or simply choose their own entertainment during flights.

According to Future Travel Experience, passenger empowerment is a driving force behind the trends in airline technology. Passengers want convenient, user-friendly service solutions. They want to stay connected and up to date. Giving passengers updated computing solutions provides greater flexibility, better accommodates their interests, and encourages them to return for future flights.

Biometrics, sensors, and tracking technology

Another growing trend in airline service is use of biometrics for check-in and baggage solutions. Biometric technology improves security, according to Future Travel Experience.

Sensors and tracking technology is also gaining interest as airlines explore smart technology. In the future, airlines will use eye tracking and sensor technology in flight monitors. While tracking technology remains a work in progress today, it is poised improve the passenger experience going forward.

To minimize unplanned downtime, airlines are turning to advanced analytics. Airline maintenance workers use updated technology to order parts and products, while sensors and biometric tools streamline general management. Real-time analytics improve airline maintenance by managing unexpected problems more efficiently and even anticipating issues before they occur. The result: fewer delays, better maintenance strategies, and more efficient repair solutions.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality already plays an important role in many aspects of the airline industry. According to Apex, the technology provides a glimpse into the cockpit of new planes, and pilots routinely use virtual reality for training purposes.

Improving security

Because greater use of smart devices increases the risk of data breaches, airlines are increasing their focus on cybersecurity. Forward-thinking airlines are turning to advanced digital security solutions to ensure proper governance of all data and fully protect sensitive customer information.

Cloud solutions

Like most industries, airlines are increasingly adopting cloud solutions to maintain and share vast amounts of data. As airlines grow, this technology is integral to meet customers’ needs.

Every airline faces challenges in today’s business environment, and the most successful ones constantly strive to improve the customer experience. By using updated technology, airlines can encourage passengers to return for future flights by offering a top customer experience, while keeping data safe within a complex digital environment.

For more insight on this digital age of airlines, see “Build a Better Customer Journey for the Digital Traveler.”

Philip Te Hau

About Philip Te Hau

Phil Te Hau is the Global Head of the Travel and Leisure industry business unit at SAP. He is responsible for the industry footprint within airlines, hospitality, airports, passenger transportation, and asset management globally. By offering prescriptive road maps for each industry sub-segment, Philips helps SAP customers to approach their digital transformation through an industry lens